"Don’t Cause Opt-outs Post-Purchase," says Shiseido SVP

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Article by Ernan Roman
Featured on ANA.net

Welington Fonseca is the SVP of global customer marketing at Shiseido Group, one of the oldest cosmetics companies in the world, with brands including NARS, Shiseido, and Bare Minerals. He has been driving innovation at the company's data-driven, multitouch-point marketing ecosystem, and he is also a key stakeholder in the company's digital center of excellence.

Prior to joining Shiseido, Welington was the SVP of marketing for Rent the Runway. Previously, he held marketing leadership roles at Gilt and Lord & Taylor, where he was responsible for brand marketing, lead generation, member communications and retention, customer intelligence, and analytics.

In this edition of ERDM's "4 Questions For Digital Innovators," Welington shares some important insights about customer retention.

1. What is one marketing topic that is most important to you as an innovator?

Data-driven marketing strategies and the ability to harvest and act on that data in near real time.

2. Why is this so important?

Personalization isn't just a buzzword; it's the cornerstone of any well-executed marketing strategy. Yet many marketers are still not getting the basics of personalization right.

A good marketer doesn't need complex algorithms to begin delivering a more relevant customer experience. Think about email marketing. In all the marketing organizations I lead, the very first question I ask my team is, "When do most of our email unsubscribes take place?" The answer almost always is that most customers opt out just a few days following their purchase.

More often than not, retailers don't recognize that at each purchase, their customers are sharing a tremendous amount of personal data. Many companies auto-enroll those transacting customers into their email programs and begin sending broadcast messages, instead of pausing to better understand what the customer has just told them. Think about it: Is this a first-time customer, a loyal customer, a new product buyer, or even a lapsed customer who has just come back? Just a few simple adjustments to the messaging content and/or timing of the communication can mean a big difference.

3. How will this improve the customer experience?

Recognizing that a customer just made a purchase and tailoring their communications in the days post-purchase will enable a brand not to lose contact with that customer at the most important portion of the journey. To illustrate, when a customer visits a beauty retailer for the very first time and makes a purchase, she should not receive any communications in the days following that do not have to do with that purchase. … Give her room to breathe, wait until she receives the product, then talk about that product versus trying to sell the next product.

4. How will this improve the effectiveness of marketing? 

It improves relevance, which translates into engagement and incremental revenue. I have experienced double-digit increases in customer repeat rate and annual spend when improving content and timing of email communications post-purchase.

Fonseca's Bonus Tips:

  1. Ask your team this question: "When do most customers unsubscribe from your email program?" I suggest you anchor the analysis to the number of days closest to when the customer last transacted.

  2. Then ask these questions:

    • "Why are customers opting-out?"

    • "What's causing them to want to opt-out?"

    • "What do my communications post purchase look like?"

  3. Work with your marketing automation vendor. You may not even realize the many out-of-the-box solutions you're not taking advantage of.

  4. Test, test, and test some more. Practice makes perfect.

Ernan Roman